Oct. 21, 2016

America: Land that I Love

I love my America. Sometimes I wake up wondering where everyone else is living because my America is really pretty good. In my America, I have the freedom to do just about what I please unless it is unethical, immoral or illegal. Of course, I am not trying to dictate other people’s morality. I am just monitoring my own.  That’s a full time job in itself. 

In my America, children are allowed to go to whichever school format their parents choose: public, private or home schooling. However, in my America, only those children who have the available resources are able to attend private school or have a parent available to home school them. In my America, even those with tremendous resources are asked to help finance the education of children who aren’t as blessed. In my America, teachers are doing the very best they can with all the rules and regulations each state puts upon them. Many of my teacher friends are growing weary because they spend more time preparing students for tests as opposed to really teaching. However, in my America, those teachers remain committed despite their frustration and fatigue. 

In my America, there are churches on just about every street. We really seem to have more churches than we have people attending those churches.  However, when you want to go to church, you have ample options in my America. The other blessing in America is that you actually get to choose your religion, which was very important to our founding fathers. Our ancestors came from a staunch, unrelenting government that told them how they needed to worship and what they needed to believe.  Thank goodness the fathers (and mothers) of America chose to take a dangerous voyage across a really big sea to establish a country where people have freedom. Real freedom. My suspicion is our founding fathers and mothers understood that offering this freedom would open the door to those who believed differently. My America understands and values difference and diversity. My America stands firm in the freedom established in our one-of-a-kind country. 

In my America, we get to vote as a way for our individual voices to be heard and as a way to participate in the democratic process.  My America has been voting for a really long time and, although the process can seem cumbersome or complicated to some, this voting system works. It has worked for a very long time. There are stop gaps in the system to prevent voter fraud, reduce voter suppression, and provide two ways to elect people: individual (popular) votes and delegate (Electoral College) votes. Sadly, many people do not research to understand this amazing process so, when they don’t get their way, they choose to cry, “Foul!” I’m not saying it is totally impossible to “cheat” in American elections, but it is highly unlikely.  Somebody would tattle.  Somebody always does because in America no one is going to kill you if you stand against the government. 

In my America, we have freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Those freedoms produce the responsibility to be able to decipher truth from opinion.  I like to call this process “chewing up the meat and spitting out the bones.” Of course, if I am allowing any written word to dictate my opinion of others apart from Holy Scripture, I am going to stay frustrated. I try to realize and acknowledge that “the press” is comprised of human beings. Frail human beings. Opinionated human beings. I try to find a news source that isn’t angry, hateful, and always condemning my country. I also make it a point to not overindulge on news and never watch just one channel. With freedom of speech and freedom of the press comes personal responsibility to lighten up and never allow someone else to dictate my contentment or happiness.  

In my America, we have to accept that any freedom allows others the freedom to do the wrong thing.  That’s why we have a justice system and it may not be perfect, but it is the best there is – in my opinion. In my America, we do not accuse and try someone in the court of public opinion. We have an investigative process, a jury system, and we are asked to accept what the majority decides since that majority knows more than I do unless I am depending on one news source to tell me their opinion and encouraging me to disregard our justice system. I try not to do that. I don’t want anyone or anything having that much power in my life or that much influence on my happiness.  My God reigns.  Even in America. 

In my America, the majority of people have food to eat, a place to live, and clothes to wear. I realize there are those situations that this isn’t a completely true statement, but that’s why we have taxes and social services and churches and synagogues and mosques.  My America is “One nation under God,” so my America has a common interest to see that everyone’s needs are met. I realize in my America there will always be those who play the system, but I also understand from studies in Sociology that many Americans haven’t learned how to break free from the chains of poverty.  These Americans really don’t need to be yelled at; they need to be taught. 

In my America, we have disagreements because there are differences of opinion in every family and my America is one family.  Whether or not we are one, big, happy family is really up to each American.  We get to choose.  That’s what America is all about. You get to choose this day whom you will serve and you get to choose an attitude of gratitude or the way of hatefulness. 

Choose well, please, because we all have to live with one another's decision.

1 Peter 3:8, “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.”